Once a complaint is received and notice issued to the Respondent, the Commission refers the complaint to the Mediation Unit. Mediation is a process designed to expedite complaint processing. It is the pre-investigative attempt to resolve the alleged discrimination to the satisfaction of all parties to the complaint. The Commission staff serves as intermediator in this voluntary process.
An examination of the agency's records regarding mediation shows it to be extremely beneficial.
Complaints received by the Commission were assigned for mediation within an average of fifteen (15) working days.
When mediation was successful in parties reaching a satisfactory agreement, it occurred within an average of sixty (60) calendar days from the date that the mediation staff first contacted both parties.
More than half of the complaints filed with the Commission are resolved through mediation. In FY 1981, 5.7 of every ten (10) cases were thus resolved. The mediation unit processed three hundred thirty (330) cases, achieving satisfactory agreements in one hundred eighty-nine (189) complaints.
Complaints resolved through mediation involved non-monetary and monetary settlements. All settlements contained provisions for non-retaliation, and non-discrimination against the complainant as well as maintenance of practices consistent with the Iowa Civil Rights Act.
Other major provisions of settlements include back pay awards, employment, reemployment, promise of next available position, retroactive seniority, policy changes, neutral employment references, letters of apology, accommodations for disabilities or religion, and the establishment of a procedure for reporting and correcting harassment.
In those instances, where mediation does not result in complaint resolution the complaint is referred for investigation.